The Queen has pushed for a Pensions Schemes Bill in her speech today, which lays out legislative plans for the forthcoming parliamentary session. The speech follows the Conservative Party’s victory in the UK’s latest general election.
The bill includes legislation to enable the pensions dashboard and collective defined contribution (CDC) schemes to go ahead, and it also gives The Pensions Regulator (TPR) more powers to tackle employers that neglect their final salary schemes in favour of paying dividends out to shareholders.
If it becomes law, the bill will also address the issue of pension scams, by giving providers new powers to refuse a transfer where there is evidence the scheme they are transferring money to is being used to facilitate scam activity.
Nigel Peaple, director of policy and research at the Pensions and Lifetime Savings Association (PLSA), said: “In its first full week in charge, it is pleasing that the new government has signalled its intention to put the more than £2trn of people’s retirement savings at the top of its agenda.”
He said workplace pensions are a vital part of the UK economy, providing an essential retirement income for millions of workers and driving growth. He believes the bill will “help people plan for retirement by the introduction of a pensions dashboard and help protect their savings by giving more powers to [TPR]”.
He noted, however, that the pensions dashboard should be designed to support retirement planning without exposing savers to the risk of poor decision-making or scams.
PPF introduces insolvency risk services
The Pension Protection Fund (PPF) has marked the start of its new partnership with Dun & Bradstreet (D&B) by publishing its plans for new services and consulting on its approach to the measurement of insolvency risk from 2021.
David Taylor, executive director and general counsel at the PPF, said: “Our proposals for the measurement of insolvency risk build on the strengths of our existing model.”
The PPF said the existing insolvency risk methodology has been shown to be working well and only limited changes are proposed largely in response to stakeholder feedback.
The PPF and D&B have launched a newly designed digital portal allowing levy payers to view insolvency risk scores calculated by D&B. The first levy invoices to be calculated with D&B will be issued in autumn 2021, based on scores from April 2020.
The portal allows users to submit queries online and hold live web chat with customer service advisers.
The move to D&B will mean that insolvency risk scores will be adjusted to match actual insolvency experience, the fund said.
Taylor believes that “the new services we are introducing – particularly the new portal – are important developments making it quicker and easier to understand and engage with insolvency risk scores”.
The PPF is seeking feedback from stakeholders on the new services being introduced, including the portal, and on the proposed approach to the measurement of insolvency risk.
The PPF is encouraing its stakeholders to access scores on the new portal and “give their views on the design and scope of new services, and the adjustments being proposed to our insolvency risk methodology,” Taylor noted.
The consultation is live on the new look levy section of the PPF website. For the first time, following stakeholder feedback, the PPF has made available functionality to respond to the consultation online, including the option of a short 15-minute version.